The Trail Blazers got their regulars some rest and the first-round playoff matchup they wanted Wednesday night - but the Los Angeles Lakers made them sweat it.
Portland, which had already clinched the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, fell 110-86 at Golden State while resting five of its top eight players.
The Blazers, who were to face the No. 3 seed in the first round, entered the final day of the regular season not knowing whether the Lakers, Dallas or Oklahoma City would be their opponent.
After an Oklahoma City loss and Dallas win earlier in the day, the Lakers needed to win at Sacramento to tie up the No. 2 seed in the West. They blew a 20-point, fourth-quarter lead and fell behind the Kings by three points with nine seconds to go. Kobe Bryant's 3-pointer with six seconds left forced overtime, though, and the Lakers escaped with a 116-108 victory in the extra session.
That dropped Dallas into the third seed and made the Mavericks Portland's first-round opponent, with the first two games of the best-of-seven series at Dallas Saturday and Tuesday. The teams split their four regular-season meetings, but the Blazers won the last two times, both at the Rose Garden.
On Wednesday night, Portland coach Nate McMillan sat out LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace, Marcus Camby, Nicolas Batum and Brandon Roy to give them rest going into the playoffs.
That left Wesley Matthews and Andre Miller in the lineup with Rudy Fernandez, Chris Johnson and Earl Barron.
Portland hung in for a half, trailing 51-45 at the break. The Warriors - going with all their regulars except Monta Ellis, who sat out with a concussion - gradually pulled away in the second half.
Blazers to face Dallas - series starts Saturday
Portland Tribune | Apr 14